little miss a lot

I started to cry when I saw a little Asian girl clutching at her Anglo mamma’s hand today at the airport. Seeing her reminded me of an article I’d once read on an airplane about adoption. In the piece, the Caucasian mother who’d adopted a little girl from China relayed the struggles they faced in America. I only really remember a few details: that the kids at school gave the girl a hard time and told her that her parents bought her; the mother’s response being that oftentimes when there’s a birth, money is exchanged, bringing up hospital and doctor fees; the mother sharing with the reader that her daughter’s greatest joy is hearing about the day she and her husband went to meet her the very first time, how nervous she’d been, how she’d applied eye shadow to her lips, and how her daughter, and next, her sister, wanted to hear the story over and over again; and lastly, I remember the photos of the girls in their beautifully appointed bedrooms. I wonder, I thought as I examined their glossy lives, if they realize how lucky they are to have such beautiful furniture. What an odd thing to think. But seriously, it was really nice, and all the rooms had high ceilings and crown molding.

I didn’t cry today because the girl was Asian and I was reminded of how beautifully her mother responded to all her inquisitions, how she’d repeat the same stories again and again to the delight of her dimple-faced daughter. I cried because the little girl was wearing sparkly lavender flip-flops.

I’ve searched and searched, hunting for sequin-adorned sandals for my little girl, and I haven’t been able to secure, not a one. I miss her. It’s not that I don’t miss Lucas and Phil. Of course I do. But my Little Miss, I’m not there to watch her push her brother, or dress her in her pretty clothes and force her to wear her girly barrettes. In fact, I left in such a tailspin, that I fear Phil packed her up for New York without including a single rhinestone or ruffle. It’s vain, but it’s not. I just want to be near my Little Miss, for her to know she has a mama.

I miss Little Miss a lot more than a little.



  1. Oh, too true. When my darlings are away, sometimes I long for them. Physically long to see them and be able to touch their back – look into their eyes – hug them and feel their hearts – make sure they're okay and that I know, and they know, that we are. The fam. The rock. Always steady and always here.

    Of course, truth be told, I also long for the peace when they're with their dad and it's calm and quiet. But by Sunday afternoon on those alone weekends, I'm so ready to see them.

    I hope your tour is going fabulously.

  2. Give it another year or so, and Abigail won't LET Phil forget the sequins! On another note:

    I write on behalf of my Kindle
    Which sits, dejected and benumbed.
    It can hardly believe the catastrophe
    To which it has succumbed.

    In the five months since I've had it,
    It's filled my every book request
    From older classics to new releases
    I rarely gave it a rest.

    But then came that most puzzling day
    When I entered a brand new query —
    "Find me 'Straight up and Dirty!' "
    Its answer was somewhat eerie.

    That book simply does not exist, it said
    With a puzzling flash of its screen.
    But did I want to try another search instead?
    There were many other books to be seen!

    It was the first time my Kindle had let me down,
    So I never looked at it quite the same.
    But yesterday when I typed in, "Moose"
    It was again at the top of its game!

    So I snatched the book up electronically,
    And then gave it another try;
    "Find me Straight up and Dirty!"
    And I got quite a different reply.

    Such a book does not exist, it said.
    But then it did something else quite new
    It listed seven other books instead
    On which it thought I'd like to chew.

    The first was, once again, your Moose
    The second, Jen Lancaster's tome (?!);
    But Straight Up and Dirty, it seems to me
    Still has no Kindle home.

    So please get to the bottom of this!
    I promised my Kindle I'd ask.
    It hates to know that it's failed me
    On this one and only task.

  3. Very Sweet. Mamas and their girls. When we were waiting to adopt our baby girl from China, someone made the comment that when they looked at their chinese daughter, they didn't notice she was chinese. She was just their daughter. I didn't get it.

    Now I do. She's just my girl. Obviously, she's chinese. Obviously I'm blonde and blue. Okay, maybe not a natural blonde…but blonde nonetheless.

    She's my girl…and I'm her mama. That's all that matters.

  4. Re: sparkly shoes for kids, from a mom whose 3 year old is going through a "mama I want to wear a diamond" phase (anything that sparkles), try The Childrens Place.

    How is your husbands health?

  5. I hate to say it – but it doesn't get any easier – My daughter is now 12 and my traveling periodically has always been a part of her life. I still miss her and still long to be there whenever I am away.
    On the bright side though – my trips are a time for my daughter and husband to bond. And they have their own special routines when mom is away. Of course I am jealous – but deep down I know how important it is for her to have a good relationship with her father too.
    Anyone who criticizes why a 12 year old might need a cell phone, doesn't understand that I love it when she calls me in the morning or when she is home from school and texts me like her other friends when I am on a trip. Our text conversations have a special mommy-daughter side to them too.

  6. This is why even though the fiance' has always said he wants a boy when we have kids, I have secretly wished for a girl. Except instead of sparkly flipflops, I dream of little red "ruby slippers" covered in glitter.

  7. In Europe, there is "Accessorize", a Britain-based chain store, where you can find the most cute adorned slippers and flip-flops for little girls. Google it, maybe they can ship overseas.

  8. You would think, being such a girly girl myself (when in the mood), hearing of dressing daughters in glitter and stones would make me ache. But there is just a flatline —–. That's when I know I was meant to be exactly what I am…a mom of three dirty, sweaty, wild, crazy, awesome, BOYS! Sorry you miss your Little Miss. There are many bows and ruffles in your future – you can make it!

  9. I can relate to this. I share custody of my daughter and luckily I only have to go a few days without seeing her. We've been doing this since she was 3 and she's now 12. I do like getting the breaks to have some time for myself and I miss her terribly at the same time. We had a great weekend together and I dropped her at her grandparents tonight and I already miss her so much. I remember the sparkly phase. She had several pairs of "ruby" slippers.

  10. My little girly is adopted from China and we know all too well about how other kids can be a little harsh about the whole adoption thing. I love that the mother in the article that you read gave it a much different spin – I try to do the same for my little one and I hope there will never come a day when she feels less fortunate because she is an adoptee.

    I don't think it is an odd thing that you wondered if they knew how lucky they are because I know my daughter does…and she also knows how lucky I feel to have been given the gift of being her mother.

    I can certainly understand you missing your little girl as I miss mine when she is at school each day. If Phil forgot to pack any ruffles or sparklys, at least you'll be in the greatest shopping capital in the US to acquire some new ones. Abigail is certainly a lucky little girl to have you for a mom.

    Safe travels.

  11. Yes, girls and their mommies. It's my daughter's first summer going to sleepaway. I'm so emotional lately. I'm realizing that there is so much more to pack for a girl, after having gone through this w/ my 2 boys. She wants to be very involved – the bedding, the clothes, the laundry bag, the accessories, EVERYTHING! I think about seeing pictures of her on the camp website and the outfits she'll put together and the different hairstyles she'll create herself each day (which she already does), but then she asks for my nod of approval each morning b/f the bus comes, and then we sit and chat about her day ahead. What's killing me is that every morning when I wake her to get up for school, I get in bed w/ her and snuggle for a few minutes. At 9, she's still so delicious and affectionate. I'm so excited for her to experience sleepaway, and I hope and pray that she loves it as much as I did, but I am going to miss her something awful. When my older son went I still had 2 kids home; when my 2nd son went, my daughter was still home. With all 3 of them going off…OMG!! I will be missing them all and worrying and praying that they are having the time of their lives…And also hoping that I packed just enough of everything they all need. Ok, back to labeling. Can't wait to meet you tomorrow night in Manhasset!

  12. Reading MOOSE and loving it! Thank you for writing it. It makes me feel less alone.

  13. I can't wait to see you tonight at your reading in DC. I loved STRAIGHT UP AND DIRTY and can't wait to read MOOSE.

  14. How do you know the little girl at the airport was adopted?

    My poor best friend gets that wherever she goes.

    "Where in China did you adopt your daughter?"

    "Er…..she's not adopted. My husband is Chinese."


  15. I cry all the time when away from my daughter. Thank you for reminding me what is important. I'll be there in DC tonight as well.

  16. It sounds like you love your little beans very much and have a wonderful husband. Ordered MOOSE!

  17. Ah, poor Mama. I miss my little ones the minute I leave for work in the morning. Next week I'm traveling again and already dreading it.

  18. I know it must be terribly hard to be away from your little ones and your hubby too. I just want to personally thank you for going on tour and indulging your fans. :) Can't wait to hear you read next week in Pasadena.

  19. I was adopted at the age of three and my parents presented me with this poem when they explained how they came to be my parents. I keep a laminated copy in my wallet, and while there's no need(or desire) for me to meet my birth mother, I know that she did what she had to do to provide me with a better life. And oh, how great a life it was and is thanks to my Mom & Dad:

    Once there were two women who never knew each other.
    One you do not remember, the other you call Mother.
    Two different lives shaped to make you one.
    One became your guiding star, the other became your sun.
    The first one gave you life & the second taught you to live it.
    The first gave you a need for love. The second was there to give it.
    One gave you a name. One gave you a talent. The other gave you aim. One gave you emotions. The other calmed your fears. One saw your first sweet smile. The other dried your tears. One sought for you a home that she could not provide.
    The other prayed for a child and her hope was not denied.
    And now you ask me through your tears. The age old question unanswered through the years.
    Heredity or Environment.
    Which are you a product of?
    Neither my darling. Neither.
    Just two different kinds of Love.

  20. I come froma broken home. Considering what I've been through I promise to be a better mother. A strong provider. To love unconditionally. Your post inspires me to be a better person. Thank you.

    I'll be at Vromons in Pasadena.

  21. As a full-time SAHM with 4 of my own children and many who come and stay (and never seem to leave, because you know this is the cool house), I often dreamily wish for some time to myself .. the ability to travel somewhere without my personal entourage the way I used to; wandering slowly through the airports and foreign malls, stopping to look at what I wanted to see, eating lunch somewhere besides the golden arches .. But I have to admit, 24 hours away from my sweet things and I am a mess, missing them terribly and counting down the minutes until I can see them again – if only to tell them to stop bothering one another.

  22. Stephanie,

    You are an inspiration. Thank you for your writing. Straight Up And Dirty got me through an awful period in my life.

    Hearing you speak in Dallas was fun. What is your next book? No pressure.

  23. PLEASE just let Little Miss be herself if she ever grows up to hate all of that girly ick! Many of us do. My family still remembers with laughs my absolute rage at being put into a ruffly dress with dolls sewn onto it and hair ribbons (all ended up within moments in a wad wedged behind grandparents' upright piano where no one could easily get it out). That never happened again…

  24. Well soon the Chinese adoptions will be a rare event in our countries and all the stupid racists will have less to comment on. I hope they are happy :(

  25. I'm sure it's really hard to being so used to working from home, seeing your family everyday & now you have to be away on tour… which makes it even more great when you do see them next!

  26. This is so sweet.

    The first paragraph reminds me of some children I've been lucky enough to care for since they were infants. They absolutely love to hear stories of when they were babies and toddlers, all the cute and funny and gross things they used to do. Be sure to tell your sweet beans all about themselves when they're old enough to be interested.

  27. As a single mom to my adopted Vietnamese daughter, I can't tell you how often people day how lucky SHE is. I always correct them-she's not the lucky one. I am. I am blessed with a beautiful, healthy little girl that i can love and raise. She will always have to deal with the loss of her birth family. Not knowing why she was abandoned. Not really knowing her birth culture-no matter how hard I try to incorporate it into our lives. The nice clothes, furniture, schooling, opportunities etc will never make up for her losses. I think we can all agree that having money doesn't make up for the love of family. I can only hope all my love, the love of her family here will take away the sting of all the unknowns in her life.

    I understand why people say that she is lucky-I felt that way too before I had to take all the classes on transracial and international adoption. But now-I see it from her eyes-or, rather, the way she's likely to see it.

    So-I'm not sure lucky is the right word.

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